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Ford Lightning Review – An Interview with An Early Adopter

Interested in an electric F150 but worried about being in a remote area? Get an early adopter’s perspective with his Ford Lightning review.

With companies like Ford and Rivian finally rolling out electric vehicles, the massive truck market is starting to see a shift. Still, there are many sceptics hesitant to get on board, especially those living in remote and cold climate areas. Not only is range a concern but the availability of reliable charging comes into play.

With this in mind, I reached out to a Ford F150 Lightning owner who lives in northern Ontario, Canada.

Meet Real

I met Real in 2021 on my cross-Canada road trip. I was passing through Nothern Ontario and he pinged me through Instagram to let me know that he has an EV charger installed at his house that I could use. He lives in Schreiber, a small town outside of Terrace Bay, so I found this curious. When I asked him what kind of EV he drives he let me know that he didn’t have one yet and that he was a passionate fan waiting for the release of the Ford Lightning. How great is that?

I ended up stopping by on my way out of town for a quick top-up and chat. It was great to meet someone so curious and passionate about electric vehicles and we connected over this and the Tragically Hip (because Canada). I gave him some craft beer I had collected along my journey as a thank-you for the charge and away I went.

Since then, we have kept in touch and I was happy to see that he finally got a hold of his new electric vehicle. Since he is located far from urban centres I was curious how things were working out. With that, I reached out to get his Ford Lightning review after a few months of ownership.

Here’s my full interview with Real.

What Got You Interested in Electric Vehicles?

Eliminating the use of gas and emissions was my primary reason to switch to an electric vehicle. We produce clean hydroelectricity in my backyard (northern Ontario) so the ability to power my vehicle from that source is an amazing thing.

What Made You Decide on the Ford F150 Lightning?

Ford Lightning Review - An Interview with An Early Adopter

My family enjoys camping so I wanted a vehicle up to the task. We tow a camper in the summer and I have previously owned a few F150s so it is a product I am familiar with and trust. Also, being located in a small community, there is peace of mind in having a local Ford dealership that I’ve dealt with for many years.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Ownership of the Ford F150 Lightning From Your Experience So Far?

The cost of ownership and maintenance seems lower than my old trucks so far. It is very quiet and well-balanced on slippery roads.

It is the best towing vehicle I have ever owned. It’s heavy and stable and the regen braking is great. The frunk is nice for suitcases and clean items. I keep the box for the messy stuff. There are also lots of receptacles to export power if needed.

The cons so far is that towing reduces range by 50% with my camper. Also, public charging needs more locations and better reliability.

With Such a Large Vehicle, Has There Been Significant Savings Using Electricity vs Gasoline?

My average monthly gas was about $250. I’ve seen a $60 increase on my hydro bill but not how much of that is the EV. Add to that the cost of public EV charging and the higher vehicle payments and its kind of a wash savings-wise. That said, there is a positive of using clean energy to fuel my vehicle.

What Is the Range of the Ford F150 Lighting?

I have the standard range model and it has a highway range between 250 to 280 km. 100% charge in summer is about 32 kilowatts per 100km and the standard range has a 98-kilowatt battery.

Living in a Small Community With Cold Winters, Did You Have Concerns With Performance and Range? How Have Things Gone So Far?

Ford Lightning Review - An Interview with An Early Adopter

I had a few concerns for sure. It’s a big investment in an unproven vehicle.  That said, the performance is great, AWD is nice on winter roads and the heater has lots of heat. Preconditioning makes a huge difference in a cold climate.

Do You Find Yourself Restricted at All or Does the Vehicle Meet Your Day-to-Day Needs?

So far this winter with preconditioning at 85% I get about 195km of the range which is more than enough for day-to-day use. 

Ford Lightning Review - An Interview with An Early Adopter

I’ve only done one -5° trip to Thunder Bay far which is ~210 km one way. At 100% charge, it feels tight to get to thunder bay. Not a big deal to stop at the Nipigon Petro Can for a quick top up but the reliability of Petro Can chargers in my area is questionable.

Ford Lightning Review - An Interview with An Early Adopter

Long Before You Had the Vehicle, You Installed an EV Charger and Even Listed It on Plug Share. How Has That Experience Been?

It’s been a great experience although it seems like PlugShare users don’t click to include home chargers in the filters. Also, now that I own an EV, I realize level 2 charging is only good if you have time. I will keep it available in case highways are closed and someone needs to plug in their EV in a pinch.

Do You Have Any Upcoming Road Trip Plans? If So, Where and How Have You Been Planning Out the Route?

I’m planning a spring trip on a northern loop that is ~1,380 km with some isolated streets charging-wise. Using ABRP I was able to roughly plan the route and found I need charging in one community that doesn’t have chargers but I’m working on a few options. We are looking at upgrading our campsites to deluxe sites to have access to (50amp)  14-50 campground plugs.

I also purchased Lectron adapters and I have a Tesla to j1772 adapter for Tesla destination chargers – I also have a j1772 to Tesla to help out Teslas on the road for use at my home charger.

Is There Anything You Have Learned From Your Experience With the Ford F150 Lightning You Can Share with Those Interested in Purchasing?

The stated range from manufacturers is a mix of city and highway. Not a big deal day to day in town but on a road trip highway driving there is a significant difference in the range. Also, my home charger is a 30amp charger on a 40amp breaker which gives me about 20km per hour of charging. On a vehicle like the Lightning, a higher amperage charger would be better.

Is There Anything You Have Learned From Driving an EV in Northern Ontario That You Can Share?

Something interesting is that snow on the hood doesn’t melt without the engine in the front!

I get a lot of interest from strangers, family and friends. Most don’t know how much they actually drive day to day and instead base their vehicle purchase on a big trip once a year.

Where Can I Learn More?

Real is an active member of the Electric Vehicle Association of Northern Ontario and helps answer questions for those curious about EVs in the area. Being a cold and remote area in regards to charging infrastructure, this is a great resource for anyone who lives in a similar location.

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